In many ways, we’re in the middle of another throwback period—especially when it comes to cuisine.1 Artisan butcher shops, slow food, rich flavors and new takes on the classics just to name a few.
So, what does that mean for you and your business? If your sandwich menu is heavy on the classics, now’s the perfect time to perfect and promote them. The simple appeal of offerings such as a BLT, tuna salad or club sandwich shouldn’t be overlooked.
Take the classic grilled cheese, for instance. People crave it year-round, which opens up the possibilities for seasonal adaptations. In the summer, you can serve a grilled cheese with ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil for a summery caprese twist. In the fall, you can use Cheddar cheese and crisp fall apples. In the spring, put a fried egg and hot sauce into the mix. And in the winter, you can build tomato soup right into your sandwich by adding a sun-dried tomato paste, cream cheese and herbs. Beyond seasonal adaptations, using chorizo or sausage can make for an interesting protein addition. Try using an artisan bread to add appeal.
Don’t limit menu changes to just entrées. Desserts can also benefit from a bit of a twist. For instance, non-traditional ingredients can be used to bring new excitement to milkshakes. Consider spicing things up with jalapeño peppers or simply mixing in another dessert item such as pie. Even beer and wine can be added to shakes. These are great because they provide another opportunity to upsell.
It’s also a good time to consider taking your classics to the next level with small upgrades. Creating a dill-lemon mayonnaise or adding a unique cheese like Roquefort is a small change that could turn a predictable sandwich into a memorable treat.
Take advantage of good timing and start promoting twists on your time-honored options today. Try them out as a daily special or seasonal menu item to gauge customer reaction without overhauling your entire menu. After all, people know what they like—you just need to make sure you let them know you’ve got exactly what they’re looking for.
1NRA, What’s Hot in 2014 Culinary Forecast, January 2014